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SC to pronounce judgment on recomputation of Airtel, Vodafone-Idea dues today

The Supreme Court will pronounce its judgment on the Airtel, Voda-Idea’s plea seeking direction for correction of errors in Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) calculation on 22 July, 2021.

Vodafone-Idea claimed that it is about to go under, cited dues of ₹1.8 lakh crore and sought correction of arithmetic errors, while Bharti Airtel claimed duplication, unaccounted payments, disallowed deductions.

On Monday, the apex court reserved the order on these two telcos seeking correction of errors in demand.

The apex court in September last year had given 10 years time to telecom service providers struggling to pay rupees 93,520 crores of AGR related dues to clear their outstanding amount to the government.

A bench headed by Justice L N Rao referred to the earlier order passed by the apex court in the matter and observed that they said no re-assessment of AGR related dues can be done.

However, the companies submitted that arithmetical errors can be rectified and there are cases of duplication of entries.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Vodafone Idea, said they were not blaming the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for it as there are arithmetical entries.

He said they want to place the entries before the department so that they can re-consider it.

The bench also observed that the top court had earlier said that there can’t be any re-assessment.

The top court said some other applications, including those raising the question whether airwaves or spectrum can be transferred or sold by telecos as part of their assets, would be heard after two weeks.

In its September last year order, the apex court had said that telecom operators shall make the payment of 10 per cent of the total dues as demanded by DoT by March 31, 2021 and rest amount to be paid in yearly instalments commencing from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2031.

The top court, which had held that demand raised by the DoT in respect of AGR dues will be final, had said there shall be no dispute raised by the telcos and that there shall not be any re-assessment.

The apex court had in October 2019 delivered its verdict on the AGR issue.

The DoT in March last year had moved a plea in the top court seeking permission for allowing staggered payment of the dues by telcos over a period of 20 years. Live Mint

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